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By Ellen Contini-Morava

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Example text

Here I will merely observe that (1)a — taken as a whole — profiles the process of admiring, not that of pole-vaulting, while (1)b profiles an act of deciding (not buying) at the highest level of organization. (1) a. I admire anyone [who can pole-vault 16 feet]. b. She decided [to buy a new car]. The examples in (2) further illustrate how the constructs profile and base prove useful for both semantic and grammatical description. They make it possible to specify, in an explicit and principled manner, the precise nature of the similarities and differences among certain closely related but non-equivalent expressions.

Active sentences are likely to have agentive, inherently topical subjects. The functional desideratum of superseding a non-topical subject is more likely to arise in stative expressions. • NP2 and the predicate can themselves constitute a clause. This is because the construction builds on a clause, adding another level of organization with topic-like function. • The entire structure also has clausal status. It is by building a higher-level clause, with a new trajector, that subject status is shifted to an inherently more topical participant.

Below tr lm lm tr Figure 4. Cognitive Grammar and double subject constructions descriptive construct, just to achieve a minimally adequate semantic characterization — one that successfully distinguishes the meanings of above and below (and likewise for many other such pairs). It seems evident that the contrast has to do with the relational participants. When a relationship is profiled, its participants are accorded varying degrees of prominence. There is usually a primary focal participant, termed the trajector (tr), and often a secondary focal participant, called a landmark (lm).

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